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The Rise of B2B SaaS Communities

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Sam Jacobs

Founder's Spotlight

Sam Jacobs first created the foundation for Pavilion - formerly the Revenue Collective in 2016. The vision was to address these two trends: 1) the average tenure of executives at B2B start-ups was shrinking - about 17 months for revenue leaders; 2) The job of being a B2B executive continues to grow in complexity and difficulty. Sam was experiencing this phenomenon in his career and wanted to create a platform and community to share best practices and assist members in realizing the potential that lies within themselves!

Before Covid - Pavilion primarily used the format of in-person events. During Covid, the pressures on sales professionals did not decrease, while the ability to speak with fellow professionals became more difficult. Pavilion saw an increase from 800 members to over 3,700 members in 2020. In 2021, the number of members has increased to over 6,500 members by November 2021.

The vision for Pavilion has evolved since 2016. When first launched, the Revenue Collective was more of an "us versus them" orientation and the community was only for B2B Sales professionals. That vision has evolved to help professionals reach their full potential across multiple functions. Today, the community supports Sales, Revenue Operations, Customer Success, Finance, and most recently, a CEO community was launched. The Pavilion vision does not end in the B2B tech industry but will continue to evolve across multiple industries.

Pavilion is a "paid" membership community. Thus the customer is the member, and that creates a different set of expectations of the community and thus, the focus of Pavilion is to serve the member - not other stakeholders. As an example, Pavilion personally calls every new member to welcome them to highlight their focus on the members.

Though there are many other B2B communities, Pavilion's reason to exist is not concepts such as "elevate the profession of sales" - the community is to achieve the goal to enable members to unlock their potential and have the career success they desire.

A core value of Pavilion is "Get by Giving." This goal is to create a community ethos that is more about helping other people, which pays itself back many times over. Another value of Pavilion is to "Listen Closely and Act Quickly". Listening closely means understanding what the member really needs and not glossing over their words - but digging into the underlying meaning and goal of the words spoken.

Another core Pavilion value is "We choose to come from Kindness" - which is a message to the world. This ethos is highly personal to Sam and begins with acting with compassion, human empathy, kindness, and even affection for those in your community - while still building a great business.

What metrics does a community capture to measure its health? Retention rates are a critical measurement, and best-in-class consumer companies are experiencing 2% member churn per month. But that is not the whole story, the corporate client (Pavilion for teams) is a key to Pavilion's growth, and they have a Net Promoter Score of 56 - which translates to 71% of corporate customers love what they are receiving.

Pavilion University is a key component to drive member value and thus retention. This offering is receiving positive member feedback with an NPS of 91!

A top goal of Pavilion for CEOs is to reduce the loneliness of being a CEO. The three areas of focus include:

  1. Tactical skill knowledge - like finance, sales, HR, technology, etc.

  2. Personal leadership development.

  3. FUN - because everyone needs more fun in their lives - especially in such high pressure and stressful jobs.

Sam's heartfelt goal to build a human first community provides a thought-provoking and highly informative discussion.

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